Big news: The Pasadena-based L.A. Chamber Orchestra books four concerts "to test Valley cultural hunger" (Sept. 26).
In reality the appetite of Valley residents for excellence in the arts has never been in question. For nearly a year now, for example, our own West Valley Symphony Orchestra (with award-winning Music Director James Domine) has been whetting and satisfying that appetite with a first-class Community Concert series, creatively financed (by city and corporate grants) without exorbitant admission charges. Its concert on Sept. 27 filled a good 600 seats and drew enthusiastic cheers, especially for pianist Gary Clark's superb playing in a Mozart concerto.
Now all of a sudden the city's music Establishment "finally realizes there is a gold mine out here that it hasn't tapped." Are we prepared eventually to pay the kind of admission prices routinely accepted by our "over-the-hill" music-loving counterparts? Must culture become a commercial, rather than philanthropic, enterprise at the expense of the true spirit of art?
Let's give the talented and dedicated musicians of our own community a chance to do it their way. Soon maybe we'll be drawing audiences over the hill, not just entrepreneurs. As a union official recently put it, "people . . . aren't checked for passports at the Cahuenga Pass, you know."